Saturday, November 28, 2009

It was good the first time, let's do it again!

I wasn't planning on doing any fermentations this fall due to an overseas vacation right smack dab in the middle of the harvest season. Trust me, you have no idea how hard it was to willingly bow out of the fall grape harvest! But, faithful readers will recall the previous post about winning an award for my 2008 apple wine, and the cider I used isn't produced until the first week of November... You see where this is going, don't you?

You're right--I caved and bought some cider. Last year I made 4 gallons using Cotes de Blanc yeast, so of course I decided to make things a little complicated this year. Why try one different yeast strain when you can try two?

The plan:
I bought 8 gallons of premium cider from Carlson Orchards. Due to all the cool, rainy summer & fall, the sugar level was a little low (only about 9-10 Brix, or 4-5% potential alcohol) and acid levels were a little higher than normal. I added cane sugar to get to 20 Brix (12% PA), but did not adjust the acid. The pH levels were just about perfect for a white wine, so I decided to leave that alone. I'm trying to prevent malo-lactic fermentation altogether, so I added lysozymes pre-fermentation. Four gallons are currently being fermented cool using D47 yeast (my basement is a perfect 55-58 °F right now). The other 4 gallons are fermenting upstairs at room temperature using 71B-1122 yeast. I'm going for a clean, crisp white with the D47 yeast. The 71B-1122 yeast will convert about 30% of the malic acid to lactic acid, so I'm wanting to see if that results in a slightly more complex wine.

Things are in mid-ferment right now. I fermented in buckets for a few days to get things going, and then poured into carboys with air-locks. Both carboys are still bubbling away, and smelling heavenly!

MA Winemaker